People taking 'creepy' photos of breastfeeding mums could face up to two years in prison

Taking non-consensual photos or videos of breastfeeding mothers should be classified as a specific criminal offense following changes in the law, the government said.

Those convicted of an offense whose motive is to obtain sexual satisfaction or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm face up to two years in prison.

The government has compared the law to a new law that criminalizes “upskirting” and has prosecuted more than 30 people since it came into force in 2019.

State Secretary for Prisons and Probation Victoria Atkins said she hopes society has reached a point where breastfeeding is considered normal in public.

“But there is a tiny minority of people who seem to think that it’s somehow okay to photograph or even videotape mothers breastfeeding,” she said.

“We’re determined to take action against it. It’s clearly wrong. It’s creepy and can be very, very annoying to the mother.”

The announcement came when the government also said it would give victims of domestic violence more time to report incidents of frequent assault or assault against them.

Currently, prosecutions must begin within six months of the crime. However, this will be postponed to six months from the date the incident was formally reported to the police – with a total of two years from the offense to file a charge.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and State Secretary for Justice, Dominic Raab, said: “We are giving victims of domestic violence more time to report the crime to the police – so that perpetrators do not escape justice.

“And we’re going to introduce a new offense to prevent people from filming or photographing breastfeeding mothers without their consent – because that’s not how new mothers should be molested.”

The government said making photographing breastfeeding mothers a special criminal offense without consent gives police and prosecutors the clarity and powers they need to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The changes were incorporated into the Police, Crime, Conviction and Courts Act on Tuesday (January 4th) and will be debated in Parliament.

Breastfeeding voyeurism

The Breastfeeding Voyeurism Act would create new criminal offenses for taking pictures of a person who is breastfeeding or operating devices with the intention of allowing another person to observe a person who is breastfeeding if this is done without consent and for the purpose of sexual gratification (either on the part of the person taking the picture or a third party) or to humiliate, alarm or worry the person depicted.

It builds on existing offenses of voyeurism in Sections 67 and 67A of the Sexual Offenses Act of 2003, as amended by the Voyeurism Act (Offences) 2019, which banned “upskirting,” which typically involves criminals taking a photo under a person’s clothing without them know it.

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